Ron Hahs looks back at more than five and a half decades in the insurance, financial planning field

Ron Hahs thought it was just a summer job, something to occupy his time before starting his teaching career.

Now, more than a half-century later, Hahs is the senior financial adviser at The Hahs Group in Cape Girardeau, a multigenerational insurance and financial planning agency affiliated with Northwestern Mutual.

Hahs marked his 56th anniversary with Northwestern Mutual and The Hahs Group earlier this month and, with a degree of reluctance, admits he probably has more seniority in the financial planning field than anyone else in the area.

“I guess you could say that,” he said. “I don’t seek that kind of notoriety, but I guess you could say there isn’t anyone else in financial services here who has done it for that many years.”

A career detour

“To be blunt, I kind of got into this by accident,” Hahs said with a laugh when asked what led him to a career in financial services and insurance. He said his career path dates back to his years at Southeast Missouri State College, as it was then known.

“When I graduated from SEMO, which was in May of 1964, I had signed a contract to teach that fall at Jackson High School, where I was going to teach math and speech, and coach debate,” he said.

“For several summers before that, I worked for what was then Missouri Utilities (now known as Ameren Missouri) on a tree-trimming, brush-cutting crew. It was a good paying summer job and I just assumed I would do that again that summer before teaching in the fall, but then I found out they weren’t going to let anybody in the (tree-trimming) program if you already finished your degree.”

Rather than spend the summer between college graduation and his first teaching position without a job, Hahs accepted a summer job offer from his uncle.

“My uncle, Luther Hahs, was the district manager for Northwestern Mutual and said, ‘You come work for me this summer and I’ll guarantee you at least as much as you’d earn at the utility company,’ and I said, ‘Good deal!'” Hahs said. At the time, he was 21 years old.

“I just assumed I’d do a lot of filing and running errands, but the second day I was there, he had me applying for an insurance license, then he had me going to training in St. Louis and then to the big national company meeting in Milwaukee that July,” he remembers. “Let’s face it, I was smitten!”

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